NEW YORK GIANTS 30 – ATLANTA FALCONS 20
The New York Giants pulled out their third-straight victory Sunday afternoon, defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 30-20. It certainly didn’t start pretty, but as the final seconds ticked off of the clock, New York remained within one game of the NFC East division lead with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on the horizon.
Below you will find some of the studs, and some of the duds, from the Giants victory this Sunday.
Please note, these observations are from the initial reaction. Game film has not been watched and the game has not been analyzed. These are just initial notes taken from Sunday’s game.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Starting with the obvious, the Giants rookie was everything the team could have hoped for and more Sunday afternoon. There were the big plays, the explosiveness and the scoring that Jerry Reese and Co. imagined when the team selected Beckham 12th overall in the draft.
Another rookie, Andre Williams, looked eerily familiar to another former Giant that wore No. 44. Williams was running as if he was looking for contact. The thing about Williams is that he seems to get stronger as the game goes on. In the first half, Williams had -1 rushing yards. When the game ended, he had 65. He looks like he can be a very, very special player.
I had my doubts, a lot of them, during the preseason and first game of the regular season. I wrote them down, I made them known. I did not believe Eli Manning could play in a West Coast offense.
I was wrong.
Manning completed 19-of-30 passes for 200 yards, neither number impressive, but he threw two touchdowns and no interceptions. Manning continues to get the ball out of his hands lightning fast and is thriving with Ben McAdoo. The quarterback looks revitalized and has the Giants playing some of the best football I’ve seen in awhile.
The Offensive Line
Eli Manning was sacked just once and pressured just a few other times. Carl Banks said on WFAN a few weeks ago that sometimes it isn’t the offensive lines with the best players that are the best offensive lines, it’s the unit that plays together as unit the most that makes the best team. A few weeks in, that seems to be the Giants line. They’re opening running lanes and protecting Manning. As long as the line keeps doing those two things, the Giants will be in good shape.
I’ve said it, written it and tweeted it 100 times, the Giants have something special in Johnathan Hankins. Not only is Hankins a force against the run, but he’s developing into quite the interior pass rusher as well. Aside from the fourth down sack, there was one play that really stood out to me. In the third-ish quarter, Matt Ryan handed the ball off to a running back who tried to stretch it to the far side of the field. Hankins exploded off the line, shed his block, pursued down the line of scrimmage and made the tackle for a one-yard gain. It’s been a Giants routine to draft defensive tackles (Barry Coefield, Linval Joseph) and then let them go when their contracts are up. Hankins may be one the team is forced to hold on to. He’s a special player. A very, very special player.
The duds this week are much like those against the Houston Texans, more “uh ohs” than anything else. Demps’ interception was nice, but to then fumble the ball on the return isn’t good. Demps came to the Giants being known as someone with sure hands, for whatever reason that’s changed. Going back to the preseason, Demps has fumbled three returns (two kicks, one INT). Maybe the most infuriating thing about Demps return was after the ball came out, he was the only one to try to jump on it.
The Giants defense bailed the team out on Preston Parker’s kick return fumble, but he cannot let go of that ball. That’s a play where the Giants offense is looking to answer, and instead the defense is right back on the field. Not to mention, it looked like Parker got caught by the turf monster on his 42-yard catch that should have been a 62-yard touchdown.